Hurricane Irma made landfall in the continental United States on September 10 as a Category 4 Hurricane with raging 130 mile-per-hour winds. To stay safe from the storm, many students in mandatory evacauation zones A, B, and part of C decided to flee various locations, while others stayed home. Although the boat dock outside the lunch area is now underwater, MAST Academy sufferred minimal damage to its grounds, apart from some fallen trees. Miami-Dade County public schools were closed until September 18 to allow families to recover from the damage.
Families evacuate to Orlando
To escape Irma’s catastrophic path, sophomore Lorenzo Madera, went to Orlando. He left September 8, two days before Irma was due to hit the state, and came September 11.
After Key Biscayne was placed in the mandatory evacuation Zone A, his family left their home expecting the worst. He knew his house would flood, since water had during Hurricane Katrina. He stayed in the northern part of Orlando at the Country Inn Hotel, where his whole family shared a single room with only two beds.
On the way there, he experienced horrific traffic, but on the way back, he waited for the gridlock to subside; the trip back home was swift and painless. When he reached his house, the damage caused by the storm was palpable; a big oak tree blocked one side of the road while palm fronds littered the street. As he opened his front door, he could feel the cold air coming from his house, he was thrilled they still had power and air conditioning. When he got closer, he smelled an awful odor coming from the inside. His house had flooded.
His furniture was salvaged since it was elevated above the ground using crates. His rug, however, was ruined and the walls became weak as the insulation within them absorbed a lot of water. In spite of the damage his property underwent, he was able to clean his house and get back on track with the help of his friends.
Rocky Ride to Georgia
In order to stay safe and escape Hurricane Irma’s path, students like junior Alexia Frydman evacuated the state of Florida in a stressful fashion. Frydman made the trip to Thomasville, Georgia from her home in Coconut Grove. Living in this area of Miami, she was not secure by any means, as large trees could easily topple onto her roof and tropical storm force winds could have damaged her home’s structure; this is why her family made the collective decision to pack up and evacuate as soon as possible. The journey took six days in total, but it was not always smooth sailing.
“There was tons of traffic on the way back and we had trouble getting gas while heading to Miami because everything was closed,” Frydman said.
Her response to the overall ‘hurrication’ reigned positive: “I was nervous at first for my safety and my belongings and things like that, but I got more optimistic as the trip went on and thankfully, nothing major happened,” Frydman said.
Among those who were able to escape the wrath of Hurricane Irma were seniors Celeste and Alex Ng, who shuttered up their apartment, packed their belongings, and flew to Cancun, Mexico.
“It was stressful because there were 10 of us trying to find a commercial flight to Cancun and many of them were being cancelled or delayed,” Ng said.
After finally being able to book a flight, the twins and their family spent four days relaxing in luxury at Playa del Carmen. Some of the activities they partook in on their vacation included trips to the spa—where they enjoyed the hot tub and sauna—getting massages and body surfing on the beach.
Even though the days during the storm were spent in serenity, the Ng twins still feared for family and friends back home, “We were constantly checking updates on the hurricane for our friends and family,” Ng said.
They came home to minimal damage and, like many others in the state, lost WiFi connection and were affected by gas shortages. Their home island of Key Biscayne, however, was left with only a few trees left standing.
Over the past two weeks, people have been subjected to chaos due to Hurricane Irma. After school was cancelled, students raced home to prepare for the natural disaster headed straight
for Miami. Freshman Giovanna Key decided to stay in her home even though it was in one of the mandatory island evacuation zones. They kept a generator going to keep the food from spoiling and the house cool. As soon as the storm continued, the flooding got worse and worse. The water entered the garage and there was so much water in the back and front yard that there were waves. The murky water flooded from the canal and completely covered the pool. The damage on the island was terrible. It ranged from broken roofs to damaged cars.
“The aftermath lead to days of cleaning up all the damage the hurricane winds did and listening to the saddening news of people who got robbed by looters and elderly people who died because they could not withstand the heat” Key said. The storm had a huge impact on everyone in Miami.